733 Elm

Stories and Structures: Downtown Winnetka and Beyond

733 Elm

Winnetka, Illinois 60093, United States

Created By: Winnetka Historical Society


The Tudor Revival building at 733-35 Elm was built by Julius Frederick Eckart, an artist who immigrated from Germany to Chicago in 1881.

While living in Germany, Eckart was trained to paint frescos. He utilized that skill when he arrived in Chicago and launched a successful painting business in the city. In 1910, Eckart moved to Winnetka and quickly recognized the village’s need for a hardware supplier downtown. He opened a small store called Eckart Hardware at 726 Elm in 1915.

As the hardware store became more successful, Eckart started looking into options to increase its space. In 1920, construction started on the Eckart Building just across the street from the original store at 733-35 Elm. The building was completed in 1922 with the store on the first floor, housing for the Eckart family on the second, and housing for local teachers on the third.

After Julius Eckart died, his son, William, took over the hardware business until 1972 when his son, William Jr., took over management. These three generations of the Eckart family managed the hardware store until it permanently closed in 1999.

After the historic hardware business closed, the bottom floor of 733-35 Elm was rented by Song O’ Sixpence, a café and catering business, until it suddenly closed in 2009. In 2010, Maze Home opened in the space and has been in business here ever since.

While Eckart Hardware has been closed for decades, the Eckart family’s impression on the building remains, most notably on the “J. F. Eckart 1922” engraving above the doorway to the upper floors.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Stories and Structures: Downtown Winnetka and Beyond


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